Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Ohio Judge Sentences DUI Convicts to Ride-Sharing

In a courtroom in the state of Ohio, DUI convicts are being required to comply with an unusual court order as part of their sentencing. In addition to fines, potential jail time, license suspension, and alcohol and driving safety courses, individuals convicted of a DUI are being required to download and activate either Lyft or Uber, the most widely used ride-sharing apps.

Judge Michael Cicconetti, of Painesville, Ohio, told local media that if ordering DUI convicts to download these services' apps saves one life, prevents one injury, or just keeps one more DUI from occurring, it's worth it. After all, as the judge noted, these apps can be downloaded and activated for free.

Judicially Weird

Judge Cicconetti is no stranger to strange sentencing. In fact, he actually has a reputation for handing down life-lessons in the form of odd sentences. For example, he once required a defendant caught speeding in a school zone to do community service as a crossing guard. While that sentence, like his DUI ride-sharing sentence, make sense in a Seinfeld-ian sort of way, some of his more "creative" sentences might not be so kosher.

Judge Cicconetti stranger sentences might actually border on cruel, or maybe just unusual. For instance, he required a taxi fare evader to walk 30 miles within 48 hours, or else face 60 days in jail. Also, in case you were wondering how Judge Cicconetti feels about the "eye for an eye" philosophy, he once ordered a person pepper sprayed in the face, after that person was convicted of using the same in an attack. (The spray used for the sentence was a water-based and non-harmful.) Judge Cicconetti has even ordered DUI convicts to view the dead bodies of victims in the morgue.

Unusual, Just Not Cruel Enough

While some of Judge Cicconetti's more creative sentences could potentially run afoul of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and usual punishment, the cruel part definitely seems lacking when it comes to requiring a convict to download and activate an app. However, that may not be the case when it comes to ordering a person to view a dead body, or be pepper-sprayed in the face.

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